If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

The 9F as a heritage railway locomotive

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by Hicks19862, Aug 19, 2020.

  1. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    429
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Opening up a can of worms, perhaps, but how suitable is the 9F as a locomotive for use on heritage lines?

    Like the WD 2-10-0, it’s a large, powerful locomotive, but it is unsuitable for mainline operations due to the flangeless centre driving wheels.
     
  2. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2018
    Messages:
    808
    Likes Received:
    1,355
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    DSCF7522s.jpg Certainly they seem to be popular with customers, having 92214 on the GCR certainly "recreates the experience". I know some enthusiasts are irked by the green paint and "Leicester City" nameplates, but it certainly attracts admiring glances from many many people. Of course, it also looks the part when hauling the rake of "Windcutter" wagons!
     
    Thompson1706 and Hicks19862 like this.
  3. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    1,487
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    The Potteries
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The way I see it, it's preservation or stuffed and mounted given they will never be seen on the mainline. So I'm more than happy to see them on the GCR, where they don't look out of place, or the NYM where their use could be justified by their gradients, or even elsewhere, where their use could be accused of big chufferitis.

    Even were they permitted to roam out in the real world, I think their five foot drivers would severely limit their speed*, and hence their usefullness, as pathing would be problematic.

    *I'm assuming past exploits would not be taken into account when setting a mainline maximum :D
     
    green five, jnc and Hicks19862 like this.
  4. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,887
    Likes Received:
    946
    Occupation:
    Print Estimator/ Repository of Useless Informatio.
    Location:
    Bingley W.Yorks.
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    All academic of course, think you could safely argue for a derogation up to 60mph, at which point its doing everything a black 5 will do and more, but perhaps not as gauge friendly.... on a heritage line its a sledgehammer for a Walnut and you could probably drop the pressure to 200psi and it will still do all you need... what you save in wear and tear in some areas ( its never worked hard) you lose in others ( tyre wear, coal burnt whilst standing)... definitely a marquee loco. even without green paint and nameplates...
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
    Hicks19862 likes this.
  5. Bikermike

    Bikermike New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2020
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    141
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Thameslink territory
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Given that no preserved engine is doing the job it was designed for (transport in an age of limited competition, cheap coal and labour), then the purpose of a preserved engine is entertainment.

    It will pull in the punters, and then pull them, so why not?
     
    UP13, ross, Wenlock and 12 others like this.
  6. staffordian

    staffordian Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    1,487
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    The Potteries
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    That, IMHO, is definitely the right answer!
     
    Wenlock likes this.
  7. DismalChips

    DismalChips Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2016
    Messages:
    417
    Likes Received:
    395
    Location:
    9A
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Exactly. Heritage rail is (for the non-enthusiast) selling a fantasy of bygone days, so if something huge and impressive like a 9F creates a bit of a wow factor, they're earning their keep.
     
  8. Hampshire Unit

    Hampshire Unit Well-Known Member Friend

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    1,405
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Carer, Gardener
    Location:
    Alresford
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Light axle loading, lots of grunt, happy at low speeds, will pull pretty much anything (6 well laden coaches up a 1/60 on a wet/frosty Autumn night with leaves on the line) .... it'll do me!

    [​IMG]Fiery 9F by Stephen Morley, on Flickr
     
    Linesider, CLN_WVR, Shaggy and 17 others like this.
  9. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    13,430
    Likes Received:
    10,596
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Grantham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    True, but (from a purely commercial point of view) are they doing so as well as something smaller?
     
    Paulthehitch and Hicks19862 like this.
  10. Bikermike

    Bikermike New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2020
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    141
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Thameslink territory
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    They are if they pull in more punters.

    I think the important thing is that for most punters historical accuracy isn't important, it's perceived historical ambience. Famous engines pull punters in. 9Fs aren't Flying Scotsman, but they still have the big engine aura.
     
  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,463
    Likes Received:
    12,459
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    I agree that by and large passengers prefer a big engine, but given that ordinary punters don't tend to check things like loco rosters anyway, I'm not convinced that it actually makes all that much difference in terms of passenger numbers.
    That said, I do think the negative case against big locos is often overstated, and overlooks the fact that a big loco that is steamable is infinitely better than a small loco that isn't, and often that isn't within a host railway's control. From my reading here, the extra coal required really is negligible, the fireman on the day probably has just as much to do with the coal bill as the size of engine. Weve also seen figures here previously suggesting coal use isn't always correlated to engine size anyway, condition of loco, how hard it's working etc.
     
    andrewshimmin, jnc, Kje7812 and 6 others like this.
  12. Guitar

    Guitar New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    63
    The North Norfolk Railway have had use of 92203 and a WD 2-10-0 both of which have seen regular use when available. The NNR is ~5 miles long so I doubt they would see regular use if it wasn't useful / profitable.
     
    Hicks19862 likes this.
  13. Matt37401

    Matt37401 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    8,598
    Likes Received:
    4,510
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    31A
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    As an enthusiast I do quite like a 9F, something that’s big, makes a lot of noise and something Joe Public seems to like as well, in the last 10 years I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy 92203, 92212 and 92214 at various railways and as I say they make a lot of noise but seem to be working within themselves.
    They seem to be rather popular with the guys who have to work on them which can’t be a bad thing. Personally I’m looking forward to the the day my Euro million’s comes up and I can buy one, put an air pump on it and make it fit the headshunt at Smallbrook junction! (Haven’t decided yet to build a Garett to go with it) :):) (sorry Paul but wouldn’t it be nice?!) :p
     
  14. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2020
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    519
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Hayling Island
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Big chufferitis is akin to alcoholism.
     
  15. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    429
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    Other than the NYMR is there any heritage line that could offer any sort of challenge to a 9F?
     
    Sawdust, 2392 and Paulthehitch like this.
  16. LMS2968

    LMS2968 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,408
    Likes Received:
    2,992
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Lecturer retired: Archivist of Stanier Mogul Fund
    Location:
    Wigan
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Even the NYMR can't realistically do that; any train which made a 9F struggle is unlikely to fit in the platforms. A similar comment. would apply to other goods engines: 8F, 28XX, etc. Most preserved lines could get by with nothing bigger than a Class 4; the load limit for one of these on the SVR is ten bogies.

    As others have said, you have to differentiate between what size of engine is needed to pull the trains and what pulls in the passengers.
     
  17. Widge

    Widge New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    78
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    This and that
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Provided you've got a decent length of track for it to stretch its legs, I'd say that a 9F is pretty much the ultimate loco for a heritage line.
    Easy to drive and fire, straightforward to maintain and quick to prep and dispose, they're also surprisingly economical for a big loco. With its shallow grate, a 9F is no coal guzzler and it will happily pull anything you put behind it without ever needing to use second valve. Other than a poorly designed baffle plate with a tendency to sag, they're just about perfect.
     
  18. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2015
    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    429
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Manchester
    So 9Fs can’t be used on the main line.

    Only one (to my admittedly limited knowledge) heritage railway offers a 9F any sort of challenge.

    We have 9 survivors, though 3 have yet to steam in preservation (with varying chances of ever doing so) and Evening Star on permanent display.

    Most enthusiasts want to see the 9Fs that are operable in steam. So it’s inevitable that they will be in operation on lines that some may see them as being too big for.

    So I guess the only way to see 9Fs in steam is to succumb to Big Chufferitis
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  19. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    9,892
    Likes Received:
    5,892
    Occupation:
    Gentleman of leisure, nowadays
    Location:
    Near Leeds
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    In which case, moderate amounts are enjoyable and arguably beneficial. It is only in excess that it becomes a problem.
     
  20. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    Messages:
    18,801
    Likes Received:
    32,289
    Location:
    21C102
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Having worked on a 9F I can’t say I liked it: primarily I think because the cab is cramped, a consequence of the high floor. You also use a lot of energy getting on and off, which on a hot day is a consideration for a fireman where you have to couple and uncouple at each end.

    That said, on coal consumption, I can’t recall it being very heavy. Which stands to reason: if you ask two engines to do the same work, they’ll need similar amounts of energy to do so. So take the same train up the same hill and there is no reason why the one with a large grate will use more coal; it will do the same work, so just have a lower combustion rate per square foot (and probably less spark throwing!) Obviously with the same load, a heavier engine will need more energy to move its own mass, but that is not a straight proportion, firstly because the loco mass is only a small proportion (perhaps 1/3) of the total train weight; and secondly because the ancillaries (vac brake, steam heat) are the same regardless of loco, and quite significant. So the difference in energy consumption of a 150ton 9F on a 250 ton train heating and braking seven carriages; and 120 ton 4-6-0 hauling, heating and braking the same train is not especially marked.

    There is also the point about lighting up - from cold, a 9F will undoubtedly use a lot of coal. On the other hand, if you use it daily and have 100psi on the clock first thing in the morning, you are already half way there, and big engines keep their heat better overnight. So the key to efficiency is long periods of use, but that will also be good for the boiler.

    So on coal, I don’t think they are the coal guzzlers some like to make out. My big concern would be overhaul costs: you simply have a lot of loco to overhaul. (I can imagine a set of new tyres might be a bit eye-watering). But that comes down to who is paying for the overhaul, and how that gets reflected in hire fees if the railway doesn’t own the loco. If I owned one, I think I might seriously consider reducing boiler pressure to 225 or even 210psi to see if that improved firebox life.

    I don’t think I’d choose to go on a 9F over a small loco for enjoyment; and for an easy day as a fireman, nothing beats an 80000 tank (and comfortable too). But on costs for heritage lines, I’d be focusing on overhaul costs, not coal.

    Tom
     
    Greenway, Steve, johnofwessex and 8 others like this.

Share This Page